Touring Europe?

I have a rather hazy dream of doing a cycling tour through a few countries in Europe next year, with a couple of mates, and was wondering if anyone has advice/experience doing anything similar.

We would have quite a decent budget, but still have gear for camping, etc. Every other possibly parameter (time of travel etc etc) is all completely open for change, this is the earliest stage of planning and I’m just keen to see if anyone has any hints or help.

Vague plan is to atleast cover germany/netherlands and then maybe through belgium… Though this too is very vague at the moment.

Also advice on whether to BYO bike or purchase over there?

It’ll be helmetless, in cut off jeans and a beanie on the back of my head, with no supplies bar a HD video camera and a spare Aerospoke. Documentary to be made shortly after. Indie music soundtrack will also feature. :slight_smile: haha.

All help is greatly appreciated.

I highly recomend byo bike, I had a lot of trouble finding decent priced second hand bikes in Sweden London and amsterdam. It is pretty cheap to bring a bike to Europe with most airlines.
If you decide to buy a bike over ther, I suggest arranging it before you get there.
If you buy a bike on eBay you can always arrange to pick it up a day after u land.

SamN has a valid point, plus you know what you’re in for when you take your own bike. I rode for a few days around the netherlands with my wife last year, and although bikes were cheap and pretty much fucking everywhere, they were pretty nasty/uncomfortable.

Very easy to fly with bikes. Do a search on the forum, this topic has been covered.

I’ve flown to Frankfurt and ridden: Frankfurt-Strasbourg-Burn-Geneve-French Alpes-Montpellier-Barcelona-Montpellier-Lyon-Paris.

Above aren’t individual days, it’s just cities you would of heard of to get the idea.

One piece of advice: Don’t go North from Germany, head South!

last year i did a little trip from london to paris.

we took basic camping gear - tarps, sleeping bags etc. and even with this the bikes were really pretty heavy.

France is a great place to cycle. They love cyclists - we got free repairs from farmers and free cakes from the patisseries. Good, quiet roads too.

We had a blast, i would defo recommend touring in europe.

Just a small note if you’re going through Germany. Cologne has a great fixed scene. There’s a cool shop there with heaps of old locally made track bikes. I’ll dig out the link and get back to you.

Best thread ever as I’m in the same boat for next year.

A couple of questions for those with experience:

  1. Did you bother planning everyday in advance and sticking to that itinerary, or was it easy to get up in the morning, ride til’ you felt like stopping and easily find accommodation? (I’m planning on travelling in peak season, Jun-Jul-Aug)

  2. I realise this is like asking how long a piece of string is, however, what timeframes were you all on? Noting a country like France is tiny compared to the distances we ride in Australia.

Hope I haven’t hijacked your thread and this is helpful to you drozzy…

Bastard Commuter and Miss Commuter will be riding a short tour through France, Switzerland and Italy this year. I’ll post up some of our reparations when I’m not at work.

Ok, still at work, but I have a quiet moment.

Disclaimer: none of this is tested, we don’t have any real touring experience… yet.

  1. The ride:

We have to be in Plymouth, UK, and then Northern Italy a few weeks later. So, the ground can’t be covered riding alone. The plan is to ride some sections and catch the train on others. The plans here are fairly open, but the general idea is to do some day trips, a few days in Burgundy, the Jura, and then a combination of riding and train in Switzerland, (depending on terain), and then drop down into Italy.

  1. The bikes:

Rigid mountain bikes for the low gearing, with 1.5-1.75 touring tyres for a bit of comfort and the possibility of riding on the dirt for a bit. I’ll be riding my singlespeed with low off-road gearing because it’s what I’ve got. We won’t be doing days that are that big, so I hope it will be ok.

We will be getting the Gorund Effect Tardis bike bags, where both wheels are removed, for the planes and trains. They don’t have padding, but the relatively light weight, means we can carry them with us. I did not want to carry the bags being 1.5 kilos each, but considering that we are doing a lot of moving with the bikes packed up we decided it was worth it as opposed to scrounging for boxes at every transfer.

Gear and setup:

Rear racks and handlebar bags. I’ll probably strap the twent to my bars, my partner wants a remiovable handlebar bag for the passports and valuables. We have gone for Ortlieb and Tubus, because that seems to be the consensus on the touring websites.

We are taking a tent sleeping bags, mats, but are planning to stay in camp sites with showers ect. If it gets crappy or we are at a bit of altitude we will stay indoors.

we will take three sets of riding gear (knicks and jerseys), as much wool/merino as we can afford to combat the stink, and keep it as light as possible with the rest. We will be in Europe, if we really need that extra piece of clothing or equipment we can buy it.

So, that’s the plan so far. It’s all open to change, and we really need to start doing some overnighters here to see what works and what doesn’t.

if you need any place to stay in Paris or french brittany, let me know, my friends would help for sure.
nice project